Euro 2020

Sweden set up parallel covid bubble, Ibrahimovic declines call-up

Spain's first opponents at Euro 2020, like Luis Enrique's squad, have been hit by two covid cases and Janne Andersson has called up several reserves.

Sweden set up parallel covid bubble, Ibrahimovic declines call-up

Sweden coach Janne Andersson has been forced to set up a parallel bubble at the team’s camp ahead of Euro 2020 after two positive covid-19 tests were reported among his players. Sweden face Spain in their Group E opener in Seville on 14 June with Luis Enrique also having been forced to call up a side of reserves after Sergio Busquets and Diego Llorente returned positive tests. The Sweden boss has called up several reserves and gave AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic a call on the off-chance the veteran forward had recovered sufficiently from a knee injury to play a part.

Sweden midfielders Dejan Kulusevski and Mattias Svanberg tested positive for covid-19 on Tuesday, the Swedish FA confirmed.

As such, Andersson has called up six players to train in a separate bubble in case there are further positive tests among his squad: Jacob Rinne (AaB), Mattias Johansson (Gençlerbirligi), Joakim Nilsson (Arminia Bielefeld), Niklas Hult (Hannover), Jesper Karlsson (AZ) and Isaac Kiese Thelin (Kasimpasa).

These six players will train separately under the guidance of Sweden under-21 coach Poya Asbaghi until Sunday, when Andersson will make a final decision on his squad of 26 players for the tournament. However, none of them will be available against Spain as they have to spend several days in isolation from the rest of the squad.

No Ibrahimovic to the rescue

Ibrahimovic made a return to international football five years after retiring following Euro 2016 for World Cup qualifiers earlier this year but Andersson confirmed that the Milan forward was still not fit enough to join up with the squad. “I spoke to Zlatan. I just wanted to get confirmation of how he was feeling and how his recovery was going. We didn’t expect to be able to call him up, but I wanted to make sure. He is not that far along in his recovery,” the Sweden coach said.